If there’s a drawback to Fantagraphic Books’s remarkable volume one of Roy Crane’s Captain Easy, Soldier of Fortune: The Complete Sunday Newspaper Strips, containing strips from 1933 through 1935, it would have to be Crane’s attitude toward what his characters invariably deem “savages.”
As with the Tintin books, read today we wince at the many superstitious, easily fooled and easily frightened island and jungle natives depicted in Captain Easy.
What also strikes me as equally as troubling is the wholesale slaughter of animals. Lots of animals. Pigs, cows, small dogs, horses and donkeys, fish, tigers and elephants are speared, shot and mutilated in almost every installment. Particularly pigs, for some reason. I don’t know what Crane had against pigs.
It’s especially problematic, it seems to me, because Crane also populates his strip with an abundance of smiling, cute creatures. More often than not, if we see a cow, donkey or a dog, it’s looking amused by the goings-on or sticking out its tongue in contentment.
But not for long ….
See my earlier, highly laudatory posts on this otherwise valuable book here, here and here. And you can get your hands on a copy by clicking on the cover’s image at the upper left of this post.